‘Himalayan Cleanup’ to be held from May 26 to 30

darjeeling: In response to the Himalayan waste crisis, ‘The Himalayan Cleanup’ (THC) will be held from May 26 to 30, across the mountain states of India. This year the theme of World Environment Day is “Solutions for Plastic Pollution,” which makes THC 2023 even more relevant.

THC is an annual event with the participation of Government departments, individuals, community-based, faith-based civil society organisations, educational institutions and other stakeholders in response to the Himalayan waste crisis. “It has been organised since 2018 to raise awareness on plastic pollution, an issue that all mountain regions are grappling with and to advocate for systemic changes,” stated Priyadarshinee Shrestha of WWF. ‘The Himalayan Cleanup’ 2018 was conceived by Zero Waste Himalaya and Integrated Mountain Initiative to highlight the waste crisis in the Indian Himalayan Region and the region specific challenges of waste management.

Since 2018, more than 1000 organisations and institutions have been part of the cleanup mobilising over 25000 volunteers to clean up and audit over 500 sites across the Himalaya.

“THC is conducted with uniform global protocols to conduct waste and brand audits, to provide data on the amount and types of plastic waste generated and the top companies that are polluting the mountains. The data is collated at state and regional level to be presented at various forums to advocate for policy changes. The waste audit data can be used for developing evidence based local waste management strategies,” stated Roshan Rai of Zero Waste Himalaya. Indian states, Union territories and hill districts of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) is home to one of the 34 global biodiversity hotspots. The Himalaya is the source of water for the Indo- Gangetic plains and this fragile socio-ecology is in the midst of a waste crisis, especially with regard to plastic waste.THC events can be organised by anyone - individuals, schools, colleges, institutions, organisations and local bodies. Online training is provided to all participants who register for the cleanup.

In Sikkim, ‘The Himalayan Cleanup 2023’ has been supported by the Education Department with schools of Sikkim taking part. THC invites everyone to be a part of this Himalayan movement to raise their voices against plastic pollution. ‘The HImalayan Cleanup 2022’ was undertaken over 150+ sites across the Himalaya with over 5000+ Volunteers taking it forward. The volunteers were associated with over 100 schools and colleges and 49 organisations. 114376 pieces of trash were cleaned up of which 105995 was plastic trash.

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